Grow a Little Everyday

Nathan just never ceases to amaze me. (He also never ceases to irritate me either, but that’s another post).

We went back to the play place we were at last weekend.  Neil & I needed a bunch of stuff for our kitchen renovation and the boys wanted to come with.  They were pretty rotten in the first store but I can’t really blame them fully.  We took too long and it was a very interesting, busy place.  A lumber yard is not the place to take inquisitive little boys.

So, we went back to Play Time & guess what Nathan did?

 

He bought his own juice, no help from Mom.  AND he made a friend.  AND he interacted with several children AND he joined in a game that other kids were playing.

What a big day!  Just when you feel like you’ve hit the end of your rope, nothing is improving as fast as you’d hoped…..well, he pulls out a few “miracles”. 

He reminds me on a constant basis that he needs challenges, chances and patience.  But I am confident, again, that he will be okay as long as we never, ever limit what he is capable of.

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Day 3 of No School

Ok, actually, for us, we’ve only missed 1 day, since Nathan has school Tuesday & Thursday this week.  It’s been raining/snowing since Sunday night, quite unusual for February in Manitoba.  Generally, this is a March-type storm.  I managed to get to  work Monday on my own, but it was a sloooooow ride home.  So Neil took us in on Tuesday.  Now, I’m waiting on him to get up & decide what we should do today.

Of course I brought home about a week’s worth of work, so if I can’t get in, so what.  The boys would likely be pretty happy to stay home anyhow.  I know yesterday was perfect snowman weather.  Maybe today will be too. 

Speaking of snowmen, Eric was in big trouble yesterday at daycare.  It seems the sitter’s daughter made a lovely snowman & then Eric knocked it down.  She was “devastated” to use her mother’s words.  Eric says it was in the way & she wouldn’t let him help & she was being bossy.  Well it’s just as likely he was bossy too!  Sometimes they play so nicely together & sometimes not.  What can you do?

I sure hope there is school tomorrow, but I am equally sure that the entire south-west corner of the province feels the exact same way.  Kids are great but kids off their routine?  Not great.  ASD kids off their routine?  Torture.

Just Who is the Klutzy One??

Well, here’s another picture of Eric. I am starting to think Nathan is not the least graceful of my children.
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He was running along the pavement outside church this morning & I guess his head got going faster than his feet. Poor baby. In one year, this is the third time he’s cut his face open. See here for the last time.

Nathan has been in therapy for years due to poor muscle tone, coordination and poor motor planning. Yet, it is Eric that gives me the most grief with injuries.

I guess “chicks dig scars”. Yeah. Well, mommies still don’t.

Celebrating the Little Things

As a parent, everyone is used to celebrating little things that are actually momentous. First steps, first words, first day of preschool. But it’s only those of us with special needs kids that learn to celebrate the really little things. Like putting on pants, pulled all the way up. Or, using a spoon or fork consistently. And it doesn’t matter if they learn it at the “appropriate age” or much, much later.

I actually feel sad for people with typical children sometimes. Those who take for granted when their kids master walking on a 1″ line. Or jump off the furniture. They miss out on all the opportunities to be amazed by every milestone. And they simply miss stuff. Having a Eric made me realize that it is very easy to gloss over things that are a very big deal for Nathan to do.

And so it is my goal this year, to celebrate the little things for both my boys. To not focus soley on Nathan’s little wins, but to see Eric’s for the miracle they are as well. So today I am bragging on Eric. He is finally able to complete puzzles (that btw, Nathan was doing at 3.5) without assistance. He can see the patterns and has the patience to keep trying without insisting I finish it. It’s a little thing, but right now, they are puzzling & I am blogging. That looks like a victory to me!

Not About Nathan

Something that is really hard to keep at the front-of-mind with special needs kids is their “regular needs” siblings.

We spend a lot of time focused on Nathan. His school. His speech. His clothes (or lack of). His sensory needs. His diet. His refusal or acceptance of supplements. In short, my world revolves around him.

I try, very hard, to keep Eric from feeling left out or neglected. When we read books with Nathan, we let Eric have a turn to read too. I do the same bedtime routine for them both. But, if Eric refuses to come in for the story, I don’t repeat that part. (And he’s been doing that a lot lately)

But, there is no doubt, I am not always (often?) successful. Nathan’s needs are not overwhelming but they do take up more time that I could be spending one-to-one with Eric. And, eventually, he’s had enough & gets angry.

When Eric gets angry, we’re talking all out screaming, fit throwing, lasts for well over an hour temper tantrum. He generally only does it when he’s overtired too, so you simply have to wait it out. I usually sit with him for some of it, giving him the attention he’s craving (becuase that’s half the problem!) and some in another room, so I don’t strangle him.

Last night he went on for about 75 full minutes. He started yelling – Mommy, you have 3 choices – You’re stupid or I’m taking your purse away.

Apparently, taking my purse away counts as either 2 of the 3 choices, or it is such an awful thing that he can’t think of a 3rd thing. He probably screamed that 40 or 60 times. Seriously.

But, eventually, he calmed himself down, had his bedtime & got up bright & cheery this morning. Turns out, he remembers being mad (sometimes he doesn’t) and promised to try his lines & printing his name today. Which, is where the fight started last night. I wanted to help him learn to print, he started screaming.

Hmmm. It’s not always about Nathan.

Sucky Update

We are officially a Sucky-free family.  Eric grudgingly gave up the sucky 2 nights after it “disappeared”.  He was very upset the third night, but only becuase he really wanted to give the sucky to his friend’s new baby brother.  Since I still have them, I told him I thought we could still give Will the sucky.  That calmed him down & off to sleep he went.

Don’t get the idea that Eric has suddenly become easy to put to bed though.  Oh no.  That drama continues, almost nightly for your listening pleasure.  He fights, screams, crys, whines, bargains, and screams some more.  Last night he screamed so long he woke up Nathan, who’d gone to bed early & had been sleeping well for 3 hours.  Coulda killed him, really.  Instead, I watched Desperate Housewives while writing a paper for my course & let Neil deal with it.  We take turns.  It was soooooooooooo his turn.

Did I remember to tell all you closet-sucky lovers, our dentist said it isn’t really a concern until the permanent teeth start coming in.  So, maybe this wasn’t as bad as I thought.  Besides, I have a good dental plan.  Always thinking, I am.

Oh, and for all you lovely southern readers, it was a balmy minus 10 celsisus yesterday (water takes about 1 hour to freeze at that temperature, we walk around without hats).  Today we’re back to the deep freeze & my sister in law is headed (with her husband!) to Mexico.  I’d be jealous, but I’m too cold.

Bye-Bye Sucky?

Last night poor, tired, worn out Eric could not find his Sucky.  Yes.  He is four.  Yes,  I know I should have taken his soother away 2 years ago.  I tried.  We didn’t sleep for 4 months.  I gave it back, he’s slept through the night ever since.

Anyhow, the tragedy of the missing sucky was compounded by the fact that Mommy would not go and look for it.  Instead, I climbed into his bed and stayed with him until he fell asleep.  I fully expected him to be up in the night.  But, no.  He slept all night long!

This morning, he found the missing sucky.  Actually, he found two.  He was so happy to see them that I almost felt bad for hiding them.  But not really.

Come on people.  He’s four.  At this rate, he’ll be sucking the thing on his wedding night.  So, I guess we’ll see if Eric can go one more night without his best friend.  He’s not ready to let it go but I think it might be a tough love-approach time.

Unless he quits sleeping.  Then, I’ll give it back.  But if you tell him that, I am sending him to Your house.  Without sucky.  See how you like that.

Christmas Fun Continues

We had a pretty great Christmas day.  The boys had plenty of presents to open but not so many that Nathan was overwhelmed.  That’s a big change from all his other Christmases.  I guess his parents are finally starting to learn his limits.  We were short Neil’s sister’s family for Christmas this year as they are headed off on a winter holiday this morning.  It was the only way to get  a direct flight to their destination, so I can’t blame them for wanting to leave on Boxing Day.  Too bad though, it is the first time in 36 years Neil’s mom hasn’t been with her daughter for Christmas.

The other sad part was that it is our first Christmas without Neil’s Grandpa.  Grandma was able to join us & I hope that the day was busy enough that it helped fill the empty space he’s left.  When we had supper, we all gathered to say the blessing and ………..nothing!  No one said anything.  I was waiting on Grandma, if she wanted to speak, but she didn’t, so I got to do it.

Good thing I had taken some time to consider what I wanted to say if the opportunity arose, because I still think I pray lousy out loud.  I get lost in my thoughts & last night was no exception, but I think it turned out okay.  I knew that I had to talk about Neil’s sister and Grandpa and how much we missed them all.  I must have done okay, because both Neil’s mom and Grandma were in happy tears after & I got big big hugs.  Well, I wasn’t looking for that, but I did want them to know everyone remembered what we were missing.

The boys are busy playing farm with their new air seeders (from Nana & Papa) and grain bins (from Mom & Dad) and all the other trucks, tractors and combines that make up their play.  Two amazing things come to mind:

1.  They are playing cooperatively which they couldn’t do last Christmas

2.  Nathan is talking in full, complete, imaginative sentances, which he couldn’t do last Christmas

What a difference a little space of time makes. Here’s hoping you have  a Christmas surprise or two still left at your house today.

Christmas Treats are Everywhere

Suzy Homemaker (that’s me!) has been very busy in the kitchen & it is now full of goodies for Christmas. There are rice crispy treats, chocolate chip cookies, custard ball cookies, peanut butter slice, butter tart slice and the always popular, never make enough Nanimo bars. We might even pull out a few ginger sparkle cookies (sparkle cookies are soft) and a second Nanimo bar – but only if Murray has the semi-sweet chocolate that’s required.

I’ve managed to make it all, without freaking out, and there’s still enough ingredients (and time) to make a second batch of most just in case. I can’t blame the boys, all three of them! for getting into the baking, it’s soooo good. Neil always teases me that I’m going to say “Those aren’t for you, they are for the company!”
Never happen. I’d rather make more & watch them enjoy it all.

Here’s a second Christmas treat for you – we went skating for the second time yesterday & Eric is just zooooming on his skates. He’s still using a support bar, but doesn’t need it. And Kristen (my cutie Niece) is even trying to skate backwards. It was pretty neat to see the kids really improve after just one try. We’re hoping to go again on Christmas Eve and maybe the 27th too.

So, just in case I have a bit of time on Christmas Eve (cuz I booked the day off, baby!), what are Christmas treats at your house? Fess up, we could use a few more pounds treats.

Having Friends Over

I got home to a miracle last night.  Honestly, I think I did.  My husband has spent the last two Incredibly Cold days cleaning the house.  So, it darn near sparkles in areas I can never get to.

Like, behind the freezer where I sort laundry.  He found about 2 dozen socks, a cloth diaper (clean!), 8 million (his words) dryer sheets and a t-shirt or two that fit the kids 3 sizes ago.

Or, the storage closet that no one can get excited about cleaning.  He vacuumed, dusted, went “fishing”, and generally did an amazing job.  Then, he made supper and invited friends over.

I came home to a clean house, supper on the table and a lovely evening of adult conversation.  He is a Christmas miracle, I swear to you.

But, we learned that we don’t have people over often enough.  The boys nearly had a meltdown fit when I told them we invited a new friend over to play.  They thought that meant Neil & I were going out!   I guess that’s what I usually tell them when we do, the  3 times per year that we get  a babysitter.  Oops.  Clearly we need to get people to our house more!